Community Thanksgiving Dinner aims to fill bellies, lift spirits |

Community Thanksgiving Dinner aims to fill bellies, lift spirits

Routt County residents gather at the annual Community Thanksgiving Dinner at the Steamboat Springs Community Center.

STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — Last year, 890 people walked through the doors of the Steamboat Springs Community Center in search of a holiday feast.

But, according to Kate Nowak, executive director of Routt County United Way, those who come to the Community Thanksgiving Dinner often find something other than turkey, mashed potatoes and green bean casserole.

“I think it’s important for people to have a place to go for the holiday,” Nowak said. “There are a lot of single people — both elderly and young, people who are new to town and those that have been here for a long time — that don’t have a community to be with during the holidays. We feel it is really important to pull the community together.”

In the past, the dinner has drawn a wide range of people ranging from tourists to city council members, from young people who just arrived in town to elderly people who are longtime residents.

“It’s just really a wonderful, warm community event,” Nowak said. “Everybody is in a good mood, everybody gets good food, and it’s all delicious. It’s really an awesome experience.”

If you go

What: Routt County United Way Community Thanksgiving Dinner
When: 1 to 5 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 22
Where: Steamboat Springs Community Center, 597 Lincoln Ave.

How to help: The dinner is free, but organizers are still in need of a few food items. Go to and click the sign-up tab under the community turkey dinner to see what is still needed.

The event is sponsored by Mountain Valley Bank and relies on food donations from the community to fill the plates. Nowak said there’s been huge interest in the event, and she already had enough volunteers, and the list of food items is also filling up fast. She is hoping a few more people will pledge to bring a cooked turkey to the meal, and there’s still a need for mashed potatoes and mashed sweet potatoes.

“Usually, I’m calling you guys and saying, ‘help we need food,'” Nowak said. “I’m very, very pleased with the way things are coming in, but if we can get 10 more turkeys, we will be in good shape.”

Nowak said the donated items should be placed on a disposable plate, and food items can be dropped off at the Community Center between 10 a.m and 12:30 p.m. Thursday. She asks that those bringing food go to the organization’s website and click on the sign-up box below the community turkey dinner header to sign up for one of the items still needed.

The dinner will run from 1 to 5 p.m. Thursday, and Nowak said the longest lines are normally in the first hour of the event. There will be highchairs for infants, and everybody is welcome

“It’s the full turkey dinner with mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes, green bean casseroles, gravy and rolls,” Nowak said. “It’s going to be really fun.”

To reach John F. Russell, call 970-871-4209, email or follow him on Twitter @Framp1966.

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